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38 Special Reloading data

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by vtducrider, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. vtducrider


    Nov 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Loaded my first batch of 38 Specials today. Started with the online Hodgon's reloading data. I am using Zero 125gr JHP, and Winchester 231. I made couple handfuls each with 4.5gr and 4.8gr of powder charge. OAL is 1.440' and crimp 0.375".

    According to Hodgon's I should be getting 1071 ft/s for the 4.8gr load, which is at the top of their range. I was expecting a little over 900ft/s for the lighter load I made.

    With the F-1 Chony, I got 750 ft/s for the 4.5gr loads, and 850ft/s for the 4.8gr out of my 4" Python. Both with SDV of about 20ft/s. Accuracy was good at 15ft. But I was expecting to get more velocity. I think I am going to push it to 5.1gr.

    Care to share your load data?
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  2. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Hodgdon data is typically light and the velocities are usually based on a 10" barrel. I'd check out a Hornady or other manual for more "useful" data.

  3. GOA Guy

    GOA Guy

    Feb 22, 2010
    Some old 38 Special Winchester data I have shows a 125 JHP with 4.7 W231 as a MAX load giving 899 fps. The same book shows a +P 125 JHP load with 5.6 W231 as MAX giving 1064 fps and 19,100 CUP. If you hit 1071 while working up a load, regardless of powder charge, in a 4" 357 you have arrived!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  4. GLShooter


    Jan 3, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    From Hodgdon for a Jacketed bullet:

    125 GR. HDY XTP Winchester 231 .357" 1.455" 4.3 826 13,300 CUP 4.9 934 16,300 CUP

    For a LEAD Bullet:

    125 GR. CAST LRNFP Winchester 231 .358" 1.445" 3.8 876 10,300 CUP 4.8 1071 16,900 CUP

    These are not + P loads.

    Lead charge for charge will USUALLY be faster than the same weight jacketed bullet.

    For the + P load they list HP-38 which is IDENTICAL to 231.

    125 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon HP-38 .357" 1.455" 5.3 1018 19,800 CUP

    Your Python can easily handle the + P loading. Most revolver data published is done with a vented barrel that doesn't yield the same numbers as a true revolver. Cylinder gap, crimp, bore and bullet size all come in to play to give you different results.

    PS: I usually load 158 gr RNL over a heavy charge of 2400 for major loads in IPSC. If I were loading a 125 gr. jacketed slug I would go with BE at about 4.8 grains.
  5. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Go back and look at your data. I believe the 1071ft/s is for the lead bullet and not the jacket bullet. You also need too look at what gun did they use a universal barrel and how long was that barrel etc.
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    Probably a 7.7" test barrel. I assume that is to equal a 6" barrel plus a 1.7" cylinder, even though it is not a revolver or vented to simulate one. The vented test barrel is 4"
  7. vtducrider


    Nov 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    <table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="2" width="100%"><tbody><tr class="altrow"><td class="mini" align="center">125 GR. HDY XTP </td> <td class="mini" align="center">Winchester </td> <td class="mini" align="center">231 </td> <td class="mini" align="center">.357" </td> <td class="mini" align="center">1.455" </td> <td class="mini" align="center">4.3 </td> <td class="mini" align="center">826 </td> <td class="mini" align="center">13,300 CUP </td> <td class="mini" align="center">4.9 </td> <td class="mini" align="center">934 </td> <td class="mini" align="center">16,300 CUP </td></tr></tbody></table>
    Oops, I was looking at the Lead data when I was comparing the results. Ok, that makes me feel better. I couldn't believe it was that much off. I am going to bump the powder charge to 5.0 gr. Thanks.
  8. albyihat


    Aug 3, 2007
    SW Montana
    from the speer 13 manual they list 5.6gr of 231 for a 125gr jacketed bullet and they say to not reduce this is max and min according to them they also give a reason for this and i quote " jacketed bullets create more resistance then lead bullets and can actually stick in the bore with charges that are to light" now this warning is only for regular 38 loads not +p the +p loads produce enough velocity that this is not a problem. the +p load listed for 125gr jackted bullets is 5.3gr of 231 for start and 5.8gr 231 is max. now as you can see the start load for the +p is lower then what they say is the min. powder charge for standard 38 loads take this however you want but it seems wierd to me.